From time to time I like to share an example of a Pastoral prayer that was prayed during a Sunday morning service at Grace Fellowship Church. This one comes from pastor Paul Martin.
Lord, it is true. We faint for your salvation, and long for your help, because sin has messed up our lives. Our desires are out of line. We value what we shouldn’t. Our words are stained with anger, coarseness, stabbing at others. Some of us are only here to impress others, to get a friend off our back, or just because it is what we always do.
But we want to come clean about that sin in us, Lord, so we can say, like David, “I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,’ and you forgave the iniquity of my sin.”
It is forgiveness we crave and it is forgiveness that only You can give. “But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared.” So we come with a healthy fear today. We ask: Please forgive us. We know You do forgive all those who are in Christ Jesus. “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.” Saved from the wrath of God! What an incredible thought! How we love Him. Praise You for sending Him.
O Christ, do forgive us. Knit our hearts to you, Son of Man. Grant us the resolve to walk with you every day of our lives. Alone. In public. Day and night. With Christian friends, with unbelieving friends. With family. With enemy. Build in us that singleminded devotion to you that marks those who love you. Give us whole hearts for you. Not half-hearts. “Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart.”
In this light, Lord, please bless our membership with fresh zeal to love one another, more loving patience for each other, a deeper commitment to serve one another — all so we can show the reality of your salvation. Increase our generosity and self-sacrifice and constancy in prayer. Decrease our talking about each other, our envious thoughts, our petty self-interests. Replace fear with faith in all our relationships. Get us out of ourselves and looking to the interests of others.
O Lord, You are the God who saves! “He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the LORD has spoken. It will be said on that day, ‘Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the LORD; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.’”
Make that every soul here can say that: “This is the LORD; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.” Bring salvation to every soul. For all of us who are in Christ, all our hope is in You, O God. We have nowhere else to go. So come and speak to us from Your Word. Open the Book to us that we might discover wonderful things.
Teach us. Shape us. Re-form us. And keep us until that Great Day when we look at You, and then at one another and say, “Behold, this is our God!”